New Canaan’s offer to buy Valley Road house rejected
Building to remain standing under Norwalk management
CANAAN — Town officials offered to pay $250,000 — when the First Taxing District of Norwalk asked for $900,000 — for the 1124 Valley Road house and the 0.83-acre parcel where it stands.
That figure, unsurprisingly, didn’t cut it for the commissioners of the neighboring city.
At the First District’s board of commissioners meeting, the commissioners voted to deny New Canaan’s offer. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan attended the meeting.
New Canaan’s top elected official didn’t give a definite answer if negotiations had reached a conclusion, as he still had to talk with preservation groups, mainly the New Canaan Land Trust. However, he said the house would remain standing.
“(The First Taxing District) said they plan to have a caretaker live in the house for now and then possibly use it as an office when they use the adjacent reservoir property for work, in conjunction with rebuilding their dam and renovating their water treatment facility at 270 Valley Road,” Moynihan said.
Dominick DiGangi, general manager of the First Taxing District, confirmed one of the district’s employees would maintain the house. When asked if talks between Norwalk and New Canaan had reached a conclusion, DiGangi said he didn’t know and referred to the commission’s formal denial of New Canaan’s offer.
The back-and-forth saga between New Canaan and Norwalk officials has been going on for the past seven months. This included a Freedom of Information request filed by Moynihan with the neighboring municipality, as well as floating the threat of enacting eminent domain to seize the property.
The taxing district originally filed the demolition permit in mid-February; a 90-day demolition delay was enacted by New Canaan’s Historic Review Committee shortly thereafter.
During that time frame, preservationist groups in town reacted swiftly to halt the demolition.
Town officials and preservationists can claim a win on their original goal — pressuring Norwalk to withdraw the demolition permit for the house. Further efforts to purchase either the entire 4-acre property or the 0.83-acre parcel with the house, however, were in vain.
Chris Schipper, a member of the New Canaan Land Trust, said the preservation group was “disappointed” with Norwalk’s decision, but hoped the house would be preserved in its present state.
“We are grateful for the First (Taxing) District for their decision to withdraw their demolition request,” Schipper said. “Pending final resolution, we respectfully request that the First District Water Department maintain the house and grounds to a standard befitting the neighborNEW hood and its historic value.”
1124 Valley Road house in New Canaan.